Do you remember what it feels like to be fully alive? That feeling of being 100% yourself, the freedom to lean into who you are without any reservation. This is the feeling many of you had when you were a kid. As you rode your bike, ran after the soccer ball, jumped into the lake, or played games with your friends.
You were fully embracing yourself and your strengths. There was nothing held back. Just pure commitment to being you. As we get older, it gets more challenging to freely embrace the strengths that are within us. Harnessing these strengths and grabbing the reins of where they take us is less clear as we get older.
But I believe there are 9 simple ways to harness the power of your strengths and get back a piece of that freedom of unreservedly being yourself.
Know Your Strengths
The first and most obvious place to start to harness your strengths is to know them. There are many tools available for you to learn about your strengths.
What would happen if you spent one month focusing on getting to know your strengths again or maybe for the first time? The first week of the month, take a strengths assessment and dive deeply into what it means for your life.
The second week, take a DISC assessment to get a better picture of how your strengths are wired into your life. The third week, send an email to your friends and ask them what strengths they see in you.
The last week, take a few hours to reflect on all the information you’ve gathered and come up with your own top 10 lists of
Show Your Strengths
Once you know your strengths, it’s time to show your strengths. There’s something powerful about using your talents, abilities, and skills the way they were meant to be used.
There’s a band called Walk Off The Earth and they did a cover song that just blew up and launched their career. It’s a fun song. But this was the song that showed their strength, their talent, and their passion.
We all have strengths that we need to show. When we don’t show these strengths, the people around you and the world around you miss out on what you were put here on earth to do.
What strengths do you have that you need to show the world?
Grow Your Strengths
In October of 2015 I had to give a short presentation to all my coworkers. There were about 60 people there. It was overwhelming to me. I basically read my “presentation” then walked off to kind applause.
It was bad. Really, really bad. But people were kind to me. This experience helped me realize that there was an underlying strength in me to give presentations and workshops.
Since that day I’ve given over 30 presentations, some were 4 hour interactive workshops. How could I do this? I grew into my strength. I practiced at home, I did little presentations, and I recorded myself on video.
Ultimately, I began to work on my strength so I could grow the strength.
Collaborate On Your Strengths
I’m a huge fan of basketball. Especially basketball that demonstrates what team play is all about. When the strengths of all players are used together, it is a beautiful orchestra of passing and scoring.
Like a team of basketball players, we, too can collaborate from our strengths to build or accomplish something beautiful.
Who do you know that shares or needs your strengths? You could have strengths in a career area like marketing, engineering, or construction. Maybe you have strengths in one of the Strengths Finders areas:
Here’s the thing, if you don’t know, show, and grow your strengths how will others know you have those strengths so they can collaborate with you on them?
A great way to harness your strengths is to find people that you can collaborate with who either share your strengths or need your strengths to get to the next level. One way to find people to collaborate with is to celebrate the strengths of others.
Celebrate Your Strengths
Celebrating your success and celebrating other’s success is a powerful way to harness strengths. The celebration reinforces our strengths. It gives us a boost that moves us to continue using the strength celebrated.
You are literally releasing endorphins when you celebrate. This neurotransmitter reduces pain, triggers positives feelings, and gives you energy.
Fortunately, celebrating the strengths and abilities of others can be very simple. Remember my “speech” several years ago? Did you notice my coworkers applauded my performance? That was an endorphin release for me and reinforced this strength in my life.
Here are some other ways to celebrate people’s strengths:
- Send them a note (email, mail, sticky)
- Cheer for them
- Pat them on the back
- Compliment the specific strength in front of others
- Give them an opportunity to do it again
- Buy them a gift
What’s most helpful is to celebrate them in a way that they will most appreciate.
Calibrate Your Strengths
Over time your strengths will grow and you will begin feel confident about sharing them and collaborating with others. It’s at this time that it’s really valuable to calibrate your strengths.
What I mean is to find others that share your strengths and see how they perform them. Measure your strengths up to the standard they set with there’s.
Musicians, athletes, CEOs, and many other people are consistently recalibrating their talents and skills to those in their field. This aspect of harnessing your strengths is not for the faint of heart.
When you calibrate, you’ve already worked through the process of knowing, showing, and growing so you are confident in your strengths and see them from the right perspective.
Not only this but you have collaborated with others in a supportive environment and seen others’ strengths on display for comparison.
Calibrating your strengths can be scary but necessary if you want to move to the next phase of harnessing your strengths which is to begin teaching on them.
Teach Your Strengths
I had a middle school teacher that showed so much passion, talent, and energy for the world of exercise science that I went on to get my degree in Kinesiology.
Her ability to demonstrate what she knew about the field of exercise and to do it with passion inspired me. When I think of people that teach from their strengths I think of Stephen Covey, Neil deGrasse Tyson, John Maxwell, and Brene Brown to name a few.
These teachers and leaders have harnessed their strengths and began to share them with others. They teach in a way that connects and helps others to know, show, and grow their own strengths.
Here’s an example from John Maxwell:
Reach Beyond Your Strengths
The strongest and most successful people reach beyond their strengths. They stretch themselves is unbelievable ways. They “put themselves out there” they “speak it into existence”.
Have you ever seen the phrase “#1 New York Times Bestseller”? Of course you have. We all have. When some people see that they think the author just “got lucky” to get to that place.
What they don’t know is that the author sent their manuscript to 40 different publishers and were rejected 40 times before they decided to publish on their own. And then found success.
What they don’t know is that author has been writing 1000 words a day for over 15 years and this is their 6th book.
To truly harness your strengths, you have to reach beyond your own abilities. Reach deeper. To the soul of your strengths. That’s when you begin to live your life like you were meant to live.
We all know the feeling of an adrenaline rush. That feeling after an exhilarating experience. You feel on top of the world. You feel like you can accomplish anything.
I want you to imagine that feeling right now. Think back to a time when you reached well beyond what you knew of your strengths but somehow harnessed the power of the deep strengths within you. Remember that?
We can only reach for so long because like you can’t live on adrenaline, you can’t always be reaching beyond your strengths. We need to do that to test our limits and to calibrate what our true strengths are. But there is a time when our strengths need to take a backseat.
Beach Your Strengths
In my SAGE Mindset Program, the last phase is a focus on empowering others. I tell a story about my daughter learning to make a PB&J sandwich and how when she finally did it all on her own it was a really empowering experience.
If you’ve discovered how to harness some of the strengths in your life, you’ll have noticed others that have your same strengths but not to the same degree. When you get to this place of understanding your strengths, it may be time for you to sit on the beach and watch someone else grow their strengths.
The most mature demonstration of strengths, is knowing when to wisely hold them back so others can demonstrate theirs. Sometimes you need to stand on the sidelines as a coach rather than be the star on the field.
When you do this, you are helping someone start to harness their own strengths in new and powerful ways. And like the John Maxwell video shows, you will experience profound success because you are serving others.
To harness your strengths, start by knowing, showing, and growing your strengths. After you’ve done this you can collaborate, celebrate, and calibrate your strengths with others.
Finally, you will have harnessed some of your strengths so well that you can begin to teach, reach, and beach your strengths so you can use your God-given abilities to serve others.
To discover your strengths and to discuss how to harness them, take this assessment and let’s talk for a few. I’ll email you after you complete the assessment to set up a free 15-minute call.